Wheatgrass looks very much like lawn grass. But it's not the same as the grass you see in your yard. It's actually the grass of young wheat plants, and well, it just happens to be filled with nutrition, which is why you always see it added to juices and smoothies or sold as supplementary powders and capsules.
But what makes it so healthy, exactly. Claims on the health benefits of wheatgrass are plenty, though others have more evidence behind them than others. Here's a look at 4 potential advantages that science supports and something to bear in mind before you try wheatgrass.
The prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes
People also used wheatgrass as a common remedy to curing type 2 diabetes, and some scientists have found evidence that it can improve.
For example, a 2016 study showed that wheatgrass increased insulin levels and helped lower blood glucose levels.
Experts believe that inflammation has a role to play in diabetes. By combating inflammation, wheatgrass can also help people control both diabetes and some of its complications.
Obesity is a primary risk factor for diabetes. Along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other health issues, they are a condition that doctors call metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome typically begins with obesity. Scientists agree that inflammation has a central role to play.
A mouse study published in 2014 indicated that wheatgrass may help to treat obesity. Mice that used wheatgrass extract gained less weight and had less obesity-related problems than those who did not.
A study in 2015 showed that wheatgrass can kill or slow down the development of certain pathogens. This can be particularly effective in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections or patients who are immune to specific antibiotics.
The researchers released the findings of the test tube experiment. The results showed that wheatgrass has antimicrobial properties that can defend against:
- certain types of streptococcal (strep) infections
- some forms of Lactobacillus bacteria
Lactobacillus bacteria have a role to play in multiple diseases, including dental infections.
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents
Wheatgrass produces ingredients that serve as antioxidants. These antioxidants can provide similar health benefits to many other plant-based foods.
Antioxidants tend to combat systemic inflammation, which happens as the immune system responds to an unpleasant material. When the body responds inappropriately to something that is not a threat, certain health problems can occur. Rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and psoriasis are also manifestations of autoimmune conditions.
If you can forgo the grassy taste, it could be a good addition to a smoothie or juice. Just be careful if you have a known issue with wheat or gluten, and avoid it if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.